The Honorable Life
Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus was a humble farmer, an aristocrat, and a member of the patrician class. He was given absolute power over the people of ancient Rome on two occasions and voluntarily gave it up each time. What made Cincinnatus famous in his time - and a legend in ours - is the fact that he was an honorable man.
The Roman custom in times of strife was for the Senate to appoint a single man as dictator. The dictator would have absolute authority over the people and army of Rome. Cincinnatus was named dictator when the Romans were losing a war against two of their neighbors.
Cincinnatus successfully led the Roman army to a swift victory. After the battle was won Cincinnatus was given a parade - called a triumph - through the streets of Rome. The people wanted Cincinnatus to remain dictator and some wanted to make him King. Cincinnatus refused the offers and after only two weeks gave up his power and returned to his farm. Cincinnatus was called upon to become dictator for a second time 19 years later. Once again the great man gave up his power as soon as his task was complete. Cincinnatus lived out the remainder of his life living modestly on his farm.